Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Stuffed, Spanish Style

Been meaning to go to the Recto area to try this hole-in-the-wall Spanish resto called Ambos Mundos, which Jeryc (a.k.a. Gail) recommended. Haven't had the time, but I did get my fill of Spanish food yesterday at Splendido Taal. Had an event where we were fed a degustacion meal. We arrived a bit late and didn't quite get what "degustacion" meant, but at the end of it I figured it meant indigestion. We were stuffed!

From what I could gather, "degustacion" is a "tasting" meal, wherein you are given small portions of all these dishes to try. Doesn't sound so intimidating until you read the menu and find out that they'll be serving 17 courses! They were divided into seven sets, plus dessert:

First set
Batido de Sardinas (whipped cheee and Spanish sardines) -- excellent! I loved loved loved it! It was this pâté served with thin and crunchy pieces of bread.
Lacon (cooked boiled leg of ham dusted with Spanish paprika)

Second set
Pescado al Penalti (pan-fried fillet of white fish on mashed potato with chicken broth garlic and parsley)
Alcachofas Infanta Leonor (artichokes heart sauteed with garlic and chorizo)

Third set (Didn't get to try this though, so in reality we had "only" 15 courses)
Croquettas de Bacalao (fresh milk balls of salted cod viscaina style)
Gambas de la Esquina (sauteed shrimp with tamarind butter and basil)

Fourth set
Tigres Mijelleones (baked stuffed mussels sauteed with chorizo shrimp and crab fat)
Chorizo Splendido (pan-fried homemade chorizo)

Fifth set
Gambas de chef (sauteed shrimps with garlic and parsley)
-- Issa liked this.
Callos de la Abuela (ox tail and ox tripe stew cooked the old-fashioned way) -- Coni liked this.

Sixth set
Sopa Seca (dried garlic soup baked eith egg yolk)
Ensalada de Pescado Dona Cecile (fish, apple, and pineapple salad)

Seventh set
Cuchinillo Frito (roasted marinated suckling pig) -- Chopped up the traditional Spanish way--using the edge of a plate! Then our host and the chef said a traditional Spanish saying (beginning with "Salud") before breaking the plate.
Paella ala Cristina (Spanish rice dish with seafood and meat)

Tocino del Cielo (very rich egg yolk custard with caramel sauce) -- yum!
Biscocho de Naranja (traditional orange cake with candied orange peel)
Decadent Chocolate Cake (very rich and moist flourless chocolate cake with butterscotch sauce) -- Very rich and moist indeed!

After the meal, there was a raffle, and then we moved to another part of the clubhouse for...merienda! There were empanaditas which I didn't try, and Migas con Chocolate which looked mouth-watering. It looked like bread soaked in a bowl of chocolate soup, so I was expecting something like churros. Put a spoonful in my mouth and discovered it had meat in it! That was...interesting. I think it would've been better if the chocolate had been bitter or if it had been that Mexican chili kind. But it was really sweet chocolate, and the meat tasted like chorizo. And since we weren't warned, it was a bit...surprising.

All in all, one of my most memorable meals. But I won't be going to Ambos Mundos anytime soon!

Ate all of this for lunch! Had to skip dinner that night. Really.
Pics courtesy of Issa. Last pic is of the meat camouflaged in chocolate!


You have got to try the awesome sisig rice at Jay-J's Chicken Inasal! The place is a swanky-looking resto that's actually an inuman-type place, open 24 hours. The chicken's ok, nothing extraordinary, but the rice is something else!

Found out about the place when we dropped Issa off there one night. A few days later, H and I were driving around looking for a place to eat. We were supposed to go to Hot Rocks but couldn't quite figure out how to get there (I've only been to the one along Libis), so we decided to give Jay-J's a try. Since it was a Sunday (our I'll-start-my-diet-tomorrow day), we threw all thoughts of healthy eating out the window and ordered the sisig rice which, according to the waiter, was good for two to three people. I'm not much of a rice person, but the two of us wiped that plate clean.

The following week, the Torta Gang got together to say goodbye to Gail. We decided to have the despedida/press con at Jay-J's, mostly because it was much nearer than Aysee's and Dannylicious. And I was just raving about the rice. Didn't get a picture of it (just imagine crunchy sisig mixed with rice, served with scrambled eggs on top). I did, however, get a picture of the P40 bibingka that six of us shared...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

More than Spaghetti

Recently discovered a new dessert offering at the Old Spaghetti House (TOSH): Creme Brulee! It comes in three different flavors in three little cups served on a rectangular platter. (And since I never seem to have my camera with me, I just downloaded a copy of their dessert menu from their website.) There's regular, citrus, and chocolate. I couldn't really tell the difference between the regular and citrus, but they were both standard--with a thin layer of hardened sugar that you have to crack with your spoon before you can get to the creamy custard below. Pretty good. The chocolate was rich--a bowl full o' fudge with a sprinkling of confectioner's sugar. And the best part? The whole shebang is less than P100! So worth it! I had it alongside the Mudpie, which is a smaller, cheaper version of Friday's mudpie: a square cake made of mocha ice cream in some chocolate sauce, topped with crushed chocolate cookies and drizzled with caramel. There's also a lovely surprise waiting in the ice cream--small, chewy bits of toffee. Be careful though--the unsuspecting might chip a tooth or find a crown coming loose if they take overeager bites into the hidden bits of candy. P.S. This treat is only P90! Panalo!

TOSH also offers other desserts (which I ignored because I zoned in on the Creme Brulee and Mudpie) including rich, yummy cheesecake and spaghetti ice cream. Before you start gagging, it's just vanilla ice cream shaped like spaghetti noodles! The "sauce" changes depending on what topping you get. If you order it with "meatballs," you get some Maltesers on top. Brilliant.

TOSH has branches along Katipunan, Paseo de Roxas (one on the Legaspi side and another behind Paseo Uno), Leon Guinto cor. Capt. Ticong (also in Makati), Amethyst Drive, Madison Square, Sgt. Esguerra, Congressional, Libis, Banawe, and Sumulong Highway.